Policy actions  3 of 3

Science and research

Offshore renewable developments have an important role in helping to tackle climate change by contributing to the Scottish Government’s ambitious emissions reduction and energy strategy.

To improve understanding and assess the environmental and socio-economic implications of offshore renewable developments, and in line with the Precautionary Principle, Marine Scotland have established the Scottish Marine Energy Research (ScotMER) programme.

ScotMER is an initiative that involves collaboration from industry, environmental NGOs, Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, and other interested stakeholders, to facilitate the sustainable development of offshore renewable energy in Scottish waters. This body of research will support sound scientific decision making and management through filling knowledge gaps and using new research to inform future decision making and policy.

There are two parts to the ScotMER programme: the evidence maps that provide a comprehensive framework of gaps in knowledge, and the research programme that is structured around this framework.

ScotMER evidence maps

Marine Scotland has worked with industry, environmental NGOs, Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, and other interested stakeholders, to map out the gaps in knowledge when assessing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of offshore renewable developments.

To do this, seven specialist groups were created, each focussing on particular impact receptors. These groups are:

Each group, made up of experts and stakeholders, have worked together to produce ‘evidence maps’ which provide a framework to guide ScotMER research projects.

The initial processes of mapping out knowledge gaps has been completed and the resulting evidence maps are now available. These maps will be reviewed and updated based on new scientific evidence.

For more information about ScotMER and the process of producing evidence maps, please see the stakeholder brief

In March 2019, Marine Scotland held its second Scottish Marine Energy Research (ScotMER) symposium. The symposium showcased recent research and new methods being developed to understand the potential interactions between marine mammals and renewable energy developments.

ScotMER research programme

The ScotMER programme is taking forward high priority research projects identified by the evidence maps.

Marine Scotland is collaborating with industry, Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, other government departments, researchers, NGOs, and other interested stakeholders, across Scotland, the UK, and Europe, to conduct research that will further understanding of the environmental and socio-economic impacts of offshore renewables developments. This coordinated approach enables exploration of joint funding opportunities, cooperation across national boundaries, and the disseminated of new knowledge to inform future decision making.

ScotMER Symposiums

In October 2018, Marine Scotland showcased recent research projects undertaken in collaboration with organisations across Scotland and Europe, in the First ScotMER symposium. We were delighted to welcome attendees across industry, academia, nature conservation organisations, and advisory bodies.

In March 2019, Marine Scotland held its 2nd ScotMER symposium, this time focussing on Scotland’s marine mammals. The symposium showcased recent research and new methods being developed to understand the potential interactions between marine mammals and renewable energy developments, and covered topics such as noise, strategic monitoring, collision risk, and modelling population level consequences of disturbance.

Mr Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands has presented both of these events and highlighted current and future opportunities for marine renewables in Scotland and the importance research to facilitate the sustainable development of this industry.

Attendees at the symposium included industry, academia, nature conservation organisations, and advisory bodies.

For more information contact marinescotland@gov.scot.